AMHERST – The Amherst Regional High School Badminton team brings a lot of experience to the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation badminton provincial championships, Friday and Saturday in Yarmouth.
“Joey (O’Dell) and Matt (Beal) have been playing badminton since junior high school,” said ARHS badminton coach Ian Mackintosh. “The have a lot of strength and a lot of experience, and they both have a lot of speed and move around the court well.
“Matt’s come a long way in the last couple years,” added Mackintosh. “Matt’s got a few games off Joey, which wasn’t the case before.”
Beal will be playing men’s singles, while O’Dell will play men’s singles and mixed doubles.
If they do well at provincials O’Dell and Beal might decide to play at the Atlantic Championships in St. John.
O’Dell will also play mixed doubles with Jennifer Cameron.
“Jennifer has been away from badminton for a year or two but she got back into it this year and had a strong showing at Districts and Regionals,” said Mackintosh.
Amanda Wheaton and Taylor Hicks are playing ladies doubles.
“Amanda and Taylor are both looking really strong going in, they have a whole lot of potential,” said Mackintosh.
Success in doubles requires, “good positioning, knowing your shots and communication,” added, Mackintosh.
Brittany Hicks is playing in both team and individual play and Mackintosh said she’s also looking really strong.
“And Jesse Dowe and Alex Embree should do well at the provincials,” he added.
Helping Mackintosh coach the team for the first time this year is Aubrey Neves.
Aubrey brings more technical skill to badminton than I do,” said Mackintosh. “He focuses on positioning and shots. He’s a great motivator. The kids respond really well to him.”